Sunday, January 27, 2013

27 January :: finding sunny corners and dusting out the cobwebs

Here's what I've been seeing lately in these slow days of winter::

homemade granola, courtesy of my friend Heather

homemade black beans, to freeze, the green things are bay leaves

just some pretty onions, we use a ton here

catching and appreciating winter light, despite its glare

always, my reminder! 

seeing this calms me

fresh flowers are a year-round treat i build into the grocery budget

a challenging project for my needles, won't start it till i finish some other projects already in progress!

how can i resist this??

it's pink, looks cozy and is just oh-so-sweet!

i think this is from my old apartment in NJ. But I still love it. Green grannies are this granny's favorite!

our first snow, here in VA ... about 2 inches by the end. it was pretty while it lasted.

a nightly tradition for me (and sometimes john)
We're here, in the middle of winter. There are some things on my mind. The upcoming trip to Florida (by train, yay!!) in mid-February for a Montessori conference, and keeping March a simple month of no extras (the train was an unexpected personal expense, I had the money for it but I'd like to keep the small savings I've built going fairly strong, and I do think it's good practice just to SETTLE IN for a good long while, March has five weekends and really what else is there to do in March on the eastern seaboard?). It will be a great time for a rest and for getting lots of projects done (we're talking yarn!) and books read. Sleeping, staying healthy, too.

It's been a quiet Sunday here. I spent 7 and a half hours completely screen free and it was so productive, AND relaxing. I did some pleasure reading of various cookbooks and craft books, picked out the new knitting project you see above, cooked up homemade granola and black beans, washed laundry and dishes, swept, reorganized the dining room in advance of our Decluttering Day next Saturday (more on that in a minute!), went to the gym, knitted, made a post-workout smoothie. Before Downton Abbey later, I plan on making a huge taco salad for lunches for the week, cooking an Indian dish for dinner, sending a couple quick e-mails (we are confirmed on our ceremony and reception sites!!), looking up new practical life ideas for the classroom, preparing my tasting bottles for the classroom, and reading my novel. It's amazing what less screen time will do for your soul (and your engagement with REAL life! Try it! So freeing.). I know that setting limits for myself is key. What can I say, I'm old-fashioned? The Internet and screens have their place. And, for me, they're very minimal. I only have two, a "dumb" cell phone and a laptop. I like that the laptop is NOT super portable. I like thinking about just knitting and reading and sleeping and window watching on the train.

So, next Saturday, yes. Getting to clean out the bedroom, the kitchen, the closet area in John's room which has a bunch of my stuff. Attacking the "piles" that just build up and then sit around collecting dust and aggrvating my "need open space!" mind. Anything that doesn't get used regularly is out. Donated or trashed (hopefully mostly donated). I declutter once or twice each year and it always feels great. There is a lot I love about this house but it also has its problems, we might move toward the end of the summer, just up the road (and closer to my job), it's always nice to move with less. I love the mind space that being super organized and uncluttered brings. Are you like that, too?

Deciding that spring break should just blend better with March's theme of simplicity and rest. Sewing classes will wait until summer, when there is more time to practice. I do plan on spending a day or to traveling to an antiques place in New Jersey that has an entire ROOM full of vintage pyrex (gasp ... ALL with LIDS!!). I am allowing myself to spend $100. Then I'll have dinner with John's mom. Other than that, I have no real plans. And why should I, really? After all, I have my huge trip in June out West (to NC/KY), and my mini-honeymoon in October (Nova Scotia).

This is the first winter in a few years I've had the real pleasure to slow down and just "be" most of the time. As much as there is that we absolutely don't like about the Eastern Shore, it's definitely afforded me this necessary type of time, an ability to save money, and a good long stretch for John and I to really develop our still-new (just a little over a year) relationship, work out the major kinks and stuff. Plus, the wildlife is world class and full of surprises. I kind of like the hover place.

blessings and light,


Monday, January 21, 2013

simplicity:: 21 January

Hello, friends.

sunday pancakes
I'm sitting here on the third or so day of plentiful sunshine, watching how beautifully it streams across the dining room floor, a room which usually gets very little light because of the house next door. There are freshly baked vegan pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins on the counter and laundry is washing in the kitchen. I have a day off thanks to one of my favorite people, Martin Luther King, Jr.

We are surviving the winter here. Trying  to keep the corners swept and thoughts fresh, somehow. We both felt a bit negative toward each other, we then both realized it was cabin fever so we took the long-ish drive across the bay just before sunset and went bookstore browsing and John treated me to Thai food (vegan red curry with pumpkin and tofu, YUM!!). Just the cure.

This Saturday, we'll host local friends for a chili-eating, merrymaking with instruments evening.

I have declared the Saturday after that "Decluttering Day." To get rid of lots I just don't use or need. I have always loved doing that, and the thrill of seeing it all (well, most, hopefully) donated and just gone. I would like to get rid too of some extraneous kitchen stuff and make way for what's really important to me (vintage Pyrex!). The next day is the Super Bowl ( not a football person) yarn sale at my adopted yarn shop across the bay.

Since I went vegan for two months to start on Jan. 1, my energy has been great and I've been working out regularly. I'm only seeing minor changes to my body at this point but I'm hoping this is the year I get my healthiest yet.

I am knitting lots as I had hoped I'd do all year through this year, a cowl for myself, and a shawl for myself, and I have to finish a prayer shawl for Newtown and two scarves. A good mix of instant gratification and projects that require a lot more patience before they see completion.

I am also flying through books.

Spending more time off the Internet has helped. I still don't have the courage to quit Facebook entirely, but I'm going to try to cut about 50 more "friends" which would put me under 100. I do like having a lot of inspiring "like" pages on there like Rumi.

I have decided to take learn-to-sew classes over spring break, but I just can't afford a yoga retreat. That's okay. I'd love to maybe have an overnight somewhere, but that's it.

This week, I'll find out if the thrift store wedding dress I found can be altered to my specs. I have chosen officially the wedding color theme, royal purple and sunflower gold. We are thisclose to nailing down our locations, then comes the nitty gritty of invitations, catering, and flowers and rental of (what?? linens, dishes, tables, etc.). I'm not feeling too bad about it but sometimes I feel stressed. I want keywords to guide me: simple. poignant. fun. you know, keep me in line! Oh, and I'm going to wear purple rainboots under my dress!

I will stop rambling. The antiques store is calling my name, I sort of hope I can do just (mostly?) window shopping!

Have a lovely day if it's an extra one off for you especially. Here are some pictures of "lately" I have to share.

the pancakes with vegan sausage. look at the heart-shaped butter pat, i did not plan that!

asian noodle dish, my friend cate linden's recipe


recently-finished project for a friend
Love and light,


Sunday, January 6, 2013

6 january :: creating space

it's the 6th day of my 8-week vegan diet. so far, i feel light and full of energy. this bodes well for really working it at the gym :-) above are just two of the cookbooks I received for Christmas.

I don't have many words today, just some images of late. It's Sunday, the sun is coming and going, it's fairly warm out for winter in Virginia, and I have pizza dough rising for vegan pepperoni pizza and Downton Abbey later on.

I'm still hoping to find a few new blogs to read for 2013 and beyond, does anyone have links for me? I'd love to check them out.

Planning some knitting, and either pilates or yoga on video for today. I'm working on two scarves and my prayer shawl for Newtown. Then I will start on a gorgeous shawl for myself, why not? It's a navy-ish color, one of my favorite.

The clothes shown here are weekend (very cheap) thrift store finds (actually the wool skirt was on clearance at Target when I went there to return something). I love them, my style to a T with some boots.

Hope you are happy with your weekending, too. I'm dreaming up an easy hike for next one.

new lamp, nighttime


buca and banjo

aren't these pretty? part of our new year's snack

making vegan sausage patties to freeze for quick breakfasts. fennel seed makes them taste SO good.

this will be great with boots

this will turn into vegan pepperoni pizza, YUM!!

$2 thrift store special. great find!!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

1 January :: seeking blogs

I am seeking new simple living, earth mama style blogs to read for the new year. i'm tired of some of the old ones where they're mostly crunchy ads or plugs for other blogs or just too picture-perfect. i want awesomeness, inspiration, and reality together.

feel free to post links here.